UND Defeats St. Thomas

Maeve Hushman, Sports Reporter

The University of North Dakota’s men’s basketball team went into the Betty on Saturday afternoon with a lot on the line. It was senior day, where Matt Norman, Brady Danielson, and Caleb Nero were being honored for their time at UND. It was also the last game of the regular season; the UND men’s basketball team had a bit of resurgence the week before, gaining a three-game winning streak before losing to Kansas City and Western Illinois in back-to-back. With the summit league tournament just a week away, it was important to not only give the seniors their final win in the Betty, but also get the confidence and positive momentum they will need to make a splash in the tournament. UND accomplished that feat defeating St. Thomas 81-74.  

St. Thomas started off dominating quickly outsourcing UND but unlike the Western Illinois game the Thursday prior. UND was able to fight back, tie the game, and then gain the lead. The first half was tight with UND finishing with a narrow 2-point lead of St. Thomas.  

The second half was no different with UND gaining the lead but being unable to pull away to form a more comfortable lead but at the end of the day, UND held the lead and won their last game in the regular season.  

“We’re definitely hitting stride at the right time for sure,” Senior Brady Danielson said on the team’s recent success coming at the end of the season. “We just kind of wanted to get this one and get that confidence back up again, and we got it, so I feel like we got a lot of confidence rolling.”  

When asked similarly about the team’s confidence level going into Sioux Falls for the tournament, Junior Tsotne Tsartsidze said they were “very confident.” While this game really felt like a build up to the upcoming tournament it meant the most for the seniors who played their last game at the Betty.  

“Being a senior, a fourth year here, definitely wanted to win that last one at home. Good getting that win with my teammates,” Danielson said.  

But for Danielson this win meant more than one last win in the Betty. “It’s really emotional for me because my dad is struggling with brain cancer right now. So having him here, making the trip down and just seeing him in the stands meant a lot to me. He’s done a lot for me and my three other brothers. So, it was just a special moment to have him in the stands,” he said.  

“They’re going through a lot as a family and I know it meant a lot,” Head Coach Paul Sather said on Danielson’s final game. “I love to see him play the way he is…He’s such a great example of leaving everything he’s got on the floor,”  

Sather had praise for every senior. “Matt’s been doing an awesome job…He’s had such an awesome year and I still think Matt’s got some great basketball in front of him,” Sather said.   

Even though Caleb Nero did not play very many minutes in this game, Sather was still full of positive feelings. “A guy like Caleb Nero who has got opportunities and has done some awesome things but kind of has had a different role this year, but I like what Caleb has brought to our team. I hear him talking to our guys and his experience and his talk and what he’s saying. He’s there to help our guys be the best and supporting them and working out every single day and being a great teammate,” Sather said.   

Even though the regular season is over, UND men’s basketball heads into the summit league tournament with confidence and the knowledge that if they play the right way, they can face any opponent. If they can prevent lapses like they have had in the past and play that way for all 40 minutes they might turn some heads in Sioux Falls.  


Maeve Hushman is a Dakota Student Sports Reporter. She can be reached at [email protected]